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Crypto trading firm closes shop after $8 million NY state fine over security issues

A cryptocurrency trading company has shut down after agreeing to pay an $8 million penalty and surrender its licenses to New York state regulators, who found it had violated multiple financial industry rules, including cybersecurity protections.

Genesis Global Trading, Inc. had “compliance failures” that “left the company vulnerable to illicit activity and cybersecurity threats,” including money laundering, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) said Friday.

The company’s website displayed only this message as of Tuesday: “Genesis Global Trading, Inc., is no longer an active business.” It ceased operations in September, according to a spokesperson.

“Genesis had taken substantial measures to address these historical deficiencies and is pleased to resolve this matter,” the spokesperson said. “Genesis appreciates the DFS acknowledgment of management’s investment and efforts during and after the examination period.”

The consent order from DFS details how the company violated the terms of its BitLicense, the state’s permit for operating a “virtual currency business.” The program, instituted in 2015, is intended to protect consumers, and New York officials have said they want it to be a model for use nationwide.

The Albany Times Union newspaper noted that Friday’s announcement came just days after a state comptroller audit found deficiencies in how DFS is overseeing BitLicenses.

The consent order does not detail specific cyberthreats against Genesis Global Trading, but it notes that the required cybersecurity risk assessment filed by the company in December 2022 was “years late, was not sufficiently comprehensive” and “did not adequately consider the cybersecurity risks to GGT’s business operations.”

DFS also did not detail any specific accusations of customers using Genesis Global Trading for money laundering, but the agency said the company appeared to be seriously deficient in filing suspicious activity reports (SARs) for potential crimes.

The number of reports filed during a review period “was not commensurate with the level of transactions being processed, resulting in concerns as to whether adequate suspicious activity detective measures were in place,” the consent order said.

Editor’s note: Story updated January 17, 8 a.m. Eastern, with statement from a Genesis spokesperson.

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